LSU reeling amid review of sexual assault cases

When LSU’s football team departs the north end zone tunnel at the 102,000-seater Tiger Stadium for their traditional spring scrimmage on Saturday, players will assume an area with the logo identifying as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The logo symbolizes an effort to promote healing on campus, but is also a reminder of the inevitable challenges that LSU faces for the foreseeable future. It’s unclear how the U.S. Department of Education and a state senate selection committee have affected the $ 50 million civil lawsuit in federal court, along with allegations of sexual misconduct on the university, what impact it would have on LSU’s athletics programs .

But regardless of the consequences, it will take time to remove the stain from LSU’s tarnished brand.

“LSU like my children. I’m always going to like it, but I want it to get better, “said political pundit James Carville, an LSU graduate who teaches at university, one of his children has an enrollment and another graduated from there.” now. It is not better. “

While no LSU coach or official is currently fired, allegations of female students dating nearly a decade ago hold up after leaving school with former high-profile universities. Recent revelations about how those allegations were handled It was not enough that Les Miles, a former LSU football coach and former University President F. King Alexander, were pushed out of their most recent jobs.

Miles, who won the national title while coaching at LSU from 2005 to 2016, lost his job at Cannes.

Oregon State President F. Fired King Alexander, who held a similar position at LSU after alleging that Miles had inappropriate sex with female students working in the football office and was kept private by the university and its law firm in 2013 – a recommendation ever since Despite – theatrical director Joe Alleva that Miles be fired.

There does not appear to be any imminent threat to the job of current LSU football coach Ed Orgeron. But he is choosing his words carefully, partly due to a federal lawsuit filed by current LSU associate athletic director Sharon Lewis. Her lawsuit alleges that some current or former members of LSU’s athletic administration and football staff conspired to retaliate against her when she tried to report Miles’ alleged progress toward female students, who were gender- Would violate federal Title IX laws banning based discrimination, harassment, or violence. .

Ogergan declined to go into detail this week about what he tells current and potential athletes and their families if they express concern about a possible upheaval at LSU due to a pending investigation or lawsuit.

“We discuss it internally,” Ogergan said this week. “We have a plan. We have a lot of people who have a lot of conversations and stuff, but I’m going to leave it at that. “

Orgeron said in a letter to the state Senate Select Committee for Women and Children that she supports working lawmakers and others are striving to protect women at LSU.

Meanwhile, the football program has hosted speakers from advocacy groups such as Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR). Other speakers include LSU Title IX investigator Jeff Scott and LSU general counsel Winston Dekir. More are scheduled.

However, some see these as reactionary and token gestures, which are not accountable to those at LSU who did not aggressively push for investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct for years.

“LSU is still not taking Title IX seriously,” said Lewis’s attorney, Tommy Brown, who remains employed by LSU as his lawsuit against the school moves forward.

It cited a stay held by the state Senate committee last week to hold off on LSU’s staff decision, which is undergoing a review of the Hawke Blackwell law firm investigating HSU dealing with complaints of sexual misconduct.

The 148-page review was extensive, for example, even in cases against members of the fraternity. But some high-profile cases involved football players, including former running back Darius Gies, Which was cut after a domestic violence arrest by the NFL’s Washington football team last year.

Hesh Blackwell concluded that LSU had come up with little to reduce the resources needed for Title IX compliance and instead offered more resistance than helping alleged victims.

Lewis’ attorneys Tamme and Bridget Brown wanted their client to be allowed to assist the state Senate committee. Instead, DeCuir was the only person speaking on behalf of the university and LSU general counsel “used his time to attack his client,” said Tommy Brown, as an opportunist for her personal financial gain Featured it.

Lewis’s lawsuit does not name Orgeron among the defendants; It lists 10 unnamed men and 10 unnamed women among the defendants.

Orgeron took over for Miles on a permanent basis in 2017 and coached LSU to an unbeaten record and national championship in the 2019 season. According to an investigation by USA Today, at least nine former players have been charged with sexual misconduct or physical abuse against those who played for Orgeron.

Some were penalized and eventually left to LSU, but others, such as Guise, left the school in good stead and were selected in the NFL draft.

A recent Hush Blackwell review drew more criticism on LSU’s administration than Organ, saying coaches generally lacked expertise to handle sexual misconduct complaints and should refer them to Title IX compliance officers.

Last week, the US Department of Education announced that, partly because of the Hush Blackwell report and related media coverage, its Office for Civil Rights would investigate a possible Title IX violation by LSU. Institutions found in violation may lose federal funds.

By far, the most harsh sentence handed down to current LSU employees was about a month of suspense to Deputy Athletic Director Wedge Ausberry and Senior Associate Athletic Director Miriam Sager, which received numerous sexual misconduct complaints.

State lawmakers have said they consider LSU’s disciplinary action inadequate.

Students agree. Last month, some held a meeting at LSU’s Football Operations Building.

Bridget and Tamei Brown said they expected Lewis’ lawsuit not only to provide compensation to their client, but to cause changes at LSU and any other institution that previously failed to pay proper attention to Title IX compliance .

“Sharon Lewis has not only made an impact for Sharon Lewis, but she is a whistle-blower,” emphasized Bridget Brown. “She blows the whistle and people stop and see what’s in front of them. Will this change things in Louisiana? We’re gonna see.”

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